On the heels of a Big Ten championship season and a Rose Bowl victory, Michigan State has made a financial commitment to the future success of the football program. Head coach Mark Dantonio earned a raise. So did defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. The Spartans are not just paying the coaches for past success though.
“The compensation is not only a reward for what’s happened the last seven years, but the anticipation of where I think our program is headed in the future’ Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said in a report by MLive.com.’
Michigan State has won at least 11 games in three of the past four seasons. The only other school to do that in that time span is Ohio State, but the Spartans have two Big Ten championships to their name (one outright and one split) to Ohio State’s one split conference championship title (Wisconsin actually represented the conference in the 2010 season at the Rose Bowl in a three-way tie between the schools with identical 7-1 Big Ten records). The Spartans have been trending upward under Dantonio, and at least internally the feeling is that the ceiling has not quite been reached.
“They (raises) represent the confidence our administration has in us as coaches, the commitment they have, and that they recognize the need for continuity,” said Dantonio. “Our coaches have done a remarkable job, and quite frankly, they are in high demand. This allows us to continue to keep continuity, which I think has been a big part of our success.”
Stability on a coaching staff is key to building and sustaining any success in this sport. Michigan State making a push to keep their staff together is critical as Michigan is shuffling their staff around and new coaches (and teams) are coming in to the league. Michigan State is about to move in to a division with Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana and newcomers Maryland and Rutgers. There are some talented coaches in this division and increased competition in recruiting. Sometimes, though, a stable coaching staff has an edge. There may not be a staff more stable than the one assembled in East Lansing right now.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah